As soon as Midterm Elections are over, America will shift its focus to the holidays. Lost in the hustle and bustle of the season, will be some important issues that most won’t think about.
This is just the way many in the GOP want it, because on January 5, 2015, one of our most important services will be diminished-again. The U.S. Postal Service is under attack, and this time, there is a threat that 15,000 workers will lose their jobs.
The USPS is slated to further lower service standards, Overnight mail could become a thing of the past. The sad part is that massive layoffs and closures could be avoided—if only Congress would act.
How did we get here?
It all began when Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The Legislature requires the post office to pre-fund future retiree health care costs 75 years in advance over a 10-year period. The cost is a staggering $5.8 billion a year.
No other private or public entity has the same burden put on them. Congress could seek a moratorium on the closures, which is why it is important to keep the pressure on representatives come Election Day.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is leading a charge to stop this from happening. Speaking about his Republican colleagues, fighting tooth and nail to dismember the postal service, Sanders said, “Deep in their hearts they want to privatize the post office, privatize Medicare and privatize Social Security.”
The jobs slated to be destroyed are (no surprise!) unionized. Sanders doubts the money required to pre-fund retirement will actually go to retirees. I am sure there will be a lot of “administrative” costs to eat up the estimated $50 billion set aside in the U.S. Treasury.
This Act will finish killing off the postal service as we know it. It will finish the destruction of 2012, which closed several offices around the country and reduced service hours. It is going to slow down mail delivery by 3-4 days and further weaken decent paying union jobs.
Federal Express and other private carriers will have a field day if the postal service goes, and consumers will be captive victims, with few choices left to send their mail and parcels. Mailing letters could become prohibitive, especially for low-income individuals.
Knowing where politicians stand on such an important entity as the postal service is worth finding out. And although it’s not on the ballot, it definitely should be.